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D Hansen, FN Bennedbaek, LK Hansen, M Hoier-Madsen, BB Jacobsen and L Hegedus

OBJECTIVE: An association between insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and autoimmune thyroid disease is well recognized. We have studied the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction, autoimmunity and morphological abnormalities by ultrasonography in young diabetics. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Among young IDDM patients less than 18 years old and living in the county of Funen, Denmark, 105 of 116 eligible patients participated. They were compared with 105 healthy children matched for sex and age. Routine thyroid function parameters (thyroxine (T4), tri-iodothyronine (T3), T3 resin uptake and TSH) and thyroid autoantibodies (anti-thyroid peroxidase, TPOab, and thyroglobulin antibodies, Tgab) were measured. Thyroid size and morphology were determined by ultrasonography. RESULTS: Two of the diabetics had previously diagnosed hypothyroidism and three new cases of subclinical hypothyroidism were found. There were no significant differences in thyroid function variables or thyroid volume between diabetics and controls. Thyroid volume correlated significantly with age and weight in both groups. Among diabetics, 17 had thyroid autoantibodies (13 with TPOab, 14 with Tgab and 10 with both) compared with 2 children in the control group (P<0.001). Forty-four with IDDM as opposed to 11 of the controls (P<0.001) had morphological abnormalities at ultrasonography. Most of them had various degrees of hypoechogenicity thought to be a marker of thyroid autoimmunity. Among the 17 diabetics with autoantibodies, 10 had morphological abnormalities at ultrasonography. CONCLUSIONS: A high proportion of young IDDM patients without any clinical signs of thyroid disease have markers of thyroid autoimmunity. Many have thyroid autoantibodies, but even more have abnormalities by thyroid ultrasonography.

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D Hansen, FN Bennedbaek, M Hoier-Madsen, L Hegedus and BB Jacobsen

OBJECTIVE: Thyroid autoantibodies (TA) and thyroid ultrasonography are widely used in the diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). However, we know little of the significance of having ultrasonographic abnormalities (USabn) without having any other signs of AITD. In a previous population-based study of 105 young patients with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) we found a high prevalence (42%) of USabn. In the present study we evaluate the development of both USabn and TA in a 3-Year follow-up of this cohort. DESIGN: Of the 105 previously investigated children and adolescents with T1DM (aged 5-21 Years), 101 were re-examined. Serum concentrations of tri-iodothyronine (T(3)), thyroxine (T(4)), TSH, thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOab) and thyroglobulin antibodies (Tgab), as well as thyroid size and morphology were determined in all patients. RESULTS: During the 3 Years follow-up period, the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction increased from 5 to 8%, the prevalence of TPOab was unchanged at 13%, while the prevalence of Tgab decreased from 14 to 7%. The prevalence of USabn increased from 42 to 49%. Most patients presented USabn at both examinations. Patients with USabn had a higher prevalence of TA than those without USabn (P=0.038) and higher serum levels of TSH (P=0.027). All patients with thyroid dysfunction presented with USabn. However, many patients with USabn had no other signs of AITD. CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence of thyroid dysfunction, TA and thyroid USabn were found in young patients with T1DM. Thyroid USabn was a sensitive but non-specific marker of AITD and is therefore unsuitable for screening purposes. Instead, we recommend regular screening using serum TSH in the follow-up of young diabetic patients.

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SJ Bonnema, FN Bennedbaek, J Gram, A Veje, J Marving and L Hegedus

OBJECTIVE: Retrospective studies have indicated that anti-thyroid drugs (ATD) might possess a radioprotective effect, leading to a higher rate of recurrence of hyperthyroidism after iodine-131 ((131)I) therapy. DESIGN: A randomized clinical trial was performed to clarify whether resumption of methimazole after (131)I influences the final outcome of this treatment. METHODS: We assigned 149 patients with Graves' disease or a toxic nodular goitre to groups either to resume (+ATD) or not to resume (-ATD) methimazole 7 days after (131)I. Before (131)I therapy, all patients were rendered euthyroid by methimazole, which was discontinued 4 days before the (131)I therapy. RESULTS: During the follow-up period of 12 Months, 13 patients developed hypothyroidism, 42 were euthyroid, and 18 had recurrence of hyperthyroidism in the +ATD group; the respective numbers in the -ATD group were 16, 42 and 18 (P=0.88). At 3 weeks after (131)I therapy, the serum free-thyroxine index was slightly decreased (by 5.7%; 95% confidence interval (CI) -15.5 to 5.4%) in the +ATD group, in contrast to an increase of 35.9% (95% CI 18.8 to 55.5%) in the -ATD group (P<0.001 between groups). In the subgroup that remained euthyroid during follow-up, thyroid Volume reduction, assessed by ultrasonography, was smaller in the +ATD group [38.7% (95% CI 33.3 to 44.1%)] than in the -ATD group [48.6% (95% CI: 41.5-55.6%)] (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: No radioprotective effect could be demonstrated, with regard to final thyroid function, for the resumpton of methimazole 7 days after (131)I therapy. Although resumption of methimazole slightly reduced the magnitude of shrinkage of the goitre obtained by (131)I, the prevention of a temporary thyrotoxicosis in the early period after radiation favours this regimen.